Scotland v Australia, 12 November

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SCOTLAND v AUSTRALIA
12 November 2016
14:30 GMT
BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Live on BBC One

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
ARs: [tbc]
TMO: [tbc]

A. Head to Head

29 Played 29
9 Won 20
0 Drawn 0
20 Lost 9
364 Points 706

B. Recent Form

18 October 2015
Twickenham
35-34 to Australia

23 November 2013
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
15 – 21 to Australia

5 June 2012
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
6 – 9 to Scotland

21 November 2009
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
9 – 8 to Scotland

25 November 2006
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
15 – 44 to Australia

20 November 2004
Hampden Park, Glasgow
17 – 31 to Australia

C. TEAMS:

SCOTLAND 
Scotland v Australia, 12 November - Page 8 Stillg10
Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Allan Dell, Ross Ford, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Moray Low, Grant Gilchrist, John Hardie, Ali Price, Pete Horne, Rory Hughes.

AUSTRALIA
Scotland v Australia, 12 November - Page 8 Roy__h10
Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Reece Hodge, Henry Speight, Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Scott Sio, Stephen Moore (capt), Sekope Kepu, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Lopeti Timani.

Replacements: Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Nick Phipps, Quade Cooper.


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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 17 Nov - 21:20

Agreed - the pack should, if selected and coached properly, be competitive against the All Blacks. Whitelock and Retallick are both World Class (in the proper sense) as are Kaino at 6 and Read at 8. No question. However, I'm not convinced that there's anything special about the All Black front row, and they don't have an openside worthy of the Jones, Kronfeld and McCaw heritage (must be awful trying to live up to those names!!).

I would therefore tentatively suggest that a combined All Blacks/Lions pack would probably include four from each. We should be able to compete.

The backline is where there's a real gulf in class. The Lions just don't have the same firepower to call upon. We have good players, but trying to replicate the cohesion of the ABs from 1-15 is where I think the Lions will probably come unstuck.

Still, on the basis that the contract in front of me is duller than watching 80 minutes of Solomons inspired Edinburgh back play, here's the 23 I would choose for the 1st Test:

1.McGrath 2.Hartley(c) 3.Cole 4.Itoje 5.Kruis 6.Stander 7.O'Brien 8.Vunipola 9.Murray 10.Sexton 11.North 12.Henshaw 13.Joseph 14.Watson 15.Hogg

16.Vunipola 17.Best 18.Nel 19.J Gray 20.Faletau 21.Webb 22.Farrell 23.L Williams

Here's the midweek team:

1.Marler 2.George 3.Lee 4.Launchbury 5.AWJ 6.Henderson 7.Warburton(c) 8.Heaslip 9.Youngs 10.Biggar 11.May 12.S Williams 13.JD2 14.Seymour 15.Brown

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Post by boomeranga on Thu 17 Nov - 22:43

I don't have pay tv anymore so do not get to watch any European rugby, so I'm surprised McGrath and Henshaw have reached that level already. The catalog in my mind still had them as 'young guns' rather than 'now guns'.

I agree with what you say about the packs and backs. Id say the two prop positions offer a real opportunity for the Lions, but difficult to gain a significant advantage head to head in any other position. They have 6 positions in the pack at a really strong level in my view, and they have depth to cover an injury or two.

I think the cohesiveness of their backline presents them with their biggest advantage.


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Post by cascough on Thu 17 Nov - 22:52

funnyExiledScot wrote:Agreed - the pack should, if selected and coached properly, be competitive against the All Blacks. Whitelock and Retallick are both World Class (in the proper sense) as are Kaino at 6 and Read at 8. No question. However, I'm not convinced that there's anything special about the All Black front row, and they don't have an openside worthy of the Jones, Kronfeld and McCaw heritage (must be awful trying to live up to those names!!).

I would therefore tentatively suggest that a combined All Blacks/Lions pack would probably include four from each. We should be able to compete.

The backline is where there's a real gulf in class. The Lions just don't have the same firepower to call upon. We have good players, but trying to replicate the cohesion of the ABs from 1-15 is where I think the Lions will probably come unstuck.


I disagree that the packs are 50/50. Don't get bogged down in comparing individuals like for like, think of the unit. We will have a different game plan to them and I expect our pack to smash them back at the breakdown and be dominant at scrums and lineouts. In that sense, I don't care how good Kieran Reids offloading is or what lovely lines he picks for an 8, he's getting smashed.

I agree there is a gulf in class in the backlines, but with the first point in mind, our backline doesn't need to execute NZ's gameplan, it needs to execute ours. It doesn't need to be world beating, it just needs to be good enough. That seems like a bizarre statement given we are playing the best team in the world, but our backs will get a fantastic platform to show what they can do. Think about IRE the other week or ENG in 2012. Neither of those results were as a result of world class backlines, rather ENG and IRE got in their faces and starved NZ of time and space. When NZ inevitably made mistakes (as any team would when put under that sort of pressure, they were punished). With that in mind, Andy Farrell for the lions!

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 17 Nov - 22:53

Henshaw was pretty compelling against the ABs in Chicago and has somehow reached 23 caps for Ireland already (he's 23 years old).

McGrath has been playing international rugby for three years and has 34 caps (he's 27 years old).

How time flies!

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 17 Nov - 22:56

cascough wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Agreed - the pack should, if selected and coached properly, be competitive against the All Blacks. Whitelock and Retallick are both World Class (in the proper sense) as are Kaino at 6 and Read at 8. No question. However, I'm not convinced that there's anything special about the All Black front row, and they don't have an openside worthy of the Jones, Kronfeld and McCaw heritage (must be awful trying to live up to those names!!).

I would therefore tentatively suggest that a combined All Blacks/Lions pack would probably include four from each. We should be able to compete.

The backline is where there's a real gulf in class. The Lions just don't have the same firepower to call upon. We have good players, but trying to replicate the cohesion of the ABs from 1-15 is where I think the Lions will probably come unstuck.


I disagree that the packs are 50/50. Don't get bogged down in comparing individuals like for like, think of the unit. We will have a different game plan to them and I expect our pack to smash them back at the breakdown and be dominant at scrums and lineouts. In that sense, I don't care how good Kieran Reids offloading is or what lovely lines he picks for an 8, he's getting smashed.

I've watched a fair few Test matches with Kieran Reid at 8, and I've never once seen him "smashed". The ABs have routinely thumped South Africa into next week. Don't for one second think we will physically dominate their pack with the ease you seem to suggest. Many have tried and all have failed.

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Post by cascough on Thu 17 Nov - 23:00

funnyExiledScot wrote:
cascough wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Agreed - the pack should, if selected and coached properly, be competitive against the All Blacks. Whitelock and Retallick are both World Class (in the proper sense) as are Kaino at 6 and Read at 8. No question. However, I'm not convinced that there's anything special about the All Black front row, and they don't have an openside worthy of the Jones, Kronfeld and McCaw heritage (must be awful trying to live up to those names!!).

I would therefore tentatively suggest that a combined All Blacks/Lions pack would probably include four from each. We should be able to compete.

The backline is where there's a real gulf in class. The Lions just don't have the same firepower to call upon. We have good players, but trying to replicate the cohesion of the ABs from 1-15 is where I think the Lions will probably come unstuck.


I disagree that the packs are 50/50. Don't get bogged down in comparing individuals like for like, think of the unit. We will have a different game plan to them and I expect our pack to smash them back at the breakdown and be dominant at scrums and lineouts. In that sense, I don't care how good Kieran Reids offloading is or what lovely lines he picks for an 8, he's getting smashed.

I've watched a fair few Test matches with Kieran Reid at 8, and I've never once seen him "smashed". The ABs have routinely thumped South Africa into next week. Don't for one second think we will physically dominate their pack with the ease you seem to suggest. Many have tried and all have failed.

Except Ireland and England.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 17 Nov - 23:15

cascough wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
cascough wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:Agreed - the pack should, if selected and coached properly, be competitive against the All Blacks. Whitelock and Retallick are both World Class (in the proper sense) as are Kaino at 6 and Read at 8. No question. However, I'm not convinced that there's anything special about the All Black front row, and they don't have an openside worthy of the Jones, Kronfeld and McCaw heritage (must be awful trying to live up to those names!!).

I would therefore tentatively suggest that a combined All Blacks/Lions pack would probably include four from each. We should be able to compete.

The backline is where there's a real gulf in class. The Lions just don't have the same firepower to call upon. We have good players, but trying to replicate the cohesion of the ABs from 1-15 is where I think the Lions will probably come unstuck.


I disagree that the packs are 50/50. Don't get bogged down in comparing individuals like for like, think of the unit. We will have a different game plan to them and I expect our pack to smash them back at the breakdown and be dominant at scrums and lineouts. In that sense, I don't care how good Kieran Reids offloading is or what lovely lines he picks for an 8, he's getting smashed.

I've watched a fair few Test matches with Kieran Reid at 8, and I've never once seen him "smashed". The ABs have routinely thumped South Africa into next week. Don't for one second think we will physically dominate their pack with the ease you seem to suggest. Many have tried and all have failed.

Except Ireland and England.

I love your optimism. Worth noting that ABs record against both those nations since 2012 (when England beat the ABs) is overwhelmingly favourable to the ABs.

The ABs at full strength, at home, will unfortunately be an entirely different proposition to the one faced by Ireland in Chicago. I'm not saying that the tactics and strategy deployed by Ireland isn't exactly what the Lions should seek to replicate, but picking two extremely rare defeats over a four year period, when we're talking about the most successful rugby team the world has seen, doesn't suggest to me that the ABs pack is going to get "smashed".

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Post by cascough on Thu 17 Nov - 23:58

Put aside my flamboyant usage of words for a sec. Warren Gatland is many things, but he''s not an idiot. He will send his side out to dominate them physically and deny them the time and space they thrive on. It would be madness to take them on at their own game and I can't see them doing it at all.

Since England won they lost 5 games to the ABs that is true, but by a total of 32 points, or 6 points a game, a score if you like. They are not superhuman. Unfortunately Eng weren't quite able to impose themselves on NZ in the same fashion. But we a re talking "quite". It's close. It's a shame Eng lost the last test in NZ so heavily, as that accounts for 23 of the afore mentioned 32 points. Removing that outlier leaves us with eng losing 4 games by a total of 8 points, 2 per game, or a pen/drop goal if you like.

My point is, if you can deny them time and space, they are beatable, and Ireland have just shown it again. With the Lions we will have a plethora of forward talent to choose from. I think we will dominate them, and then all that remains is for the backs to be "good enough" to put them away. They don't need to be great.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 18 Nov - 0:41

I hope you're right!

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Post by EST on Fri 18 Nov - 0:59

cascough wrote:Put aside my flamboyant usage of words for a sec. Warren Gatland is many things, but he''s not an idiot. He will send his side out to dominate them physically and deny them the time and space they thrive on. It would be madness to take them on at their own game and I can't see them doing it at all.

Since England won they lost 5 games to the ABs that is true, but by a total of 32 points, or 6 points a game, a score if you like. They are not superhuman. Unfortunately Eng weren't quite able to impose themselves on NZ in the same fashion. But we a re talking "quite". It's close. It's a shame Eng lost the last test in NZ so heavily, as that accounts for 23 of the afore mentioned 32 points. Removing that outlier leaves us with eng losing 4 games by a total of 8 points, 2 per game, or a pen/drop goal if you like.

My point is, if you can deny them time and space, they are beatable, and Ireland have just shown it again. With the Lions we will have a plethora of forward talent to choose from. I think we will dominate them, and then all that remains is for the backs to be "good enough" to put them away. They don't need to be great.

I would like some of whatever you have taken.

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Post by cascough on Fri 18 Nov - 1:22

We've just seen a team suffocate the All Blacks, literally days ago, and yet some people are still convinced they are unbeatable.

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Post by EST on Fri 18 Nov - 2:08

cascough wrote:We've just seen a team suffocate the All Blacks, literally days ago, and yet some people are still convinced they are unbeatable.

They obviously are not unbeatable. But in sporting terms, they are about as dominant as it is possible to be, they have only lost 7 times this decade.

Ireland played unbelievably well, and fully deserved their win, but how you infer from one performance that the Lions will dominate them? I literally can't remember any occasion where you could say NZ have been dominated. There are of course numerous other reasons why you would think NZ will be stronger than in Chicago:

1. Playing at home against a team that only comes around once every 12 years.
2. Having an established second row pairing.
3. Not at the end of a grueling season.


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Post by beshocked on Fri 18 Nov - 2:10

Let's not forget.

The Lions will not be coached by Schmidt.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 18 Nov - 2:42

cascough wrote:We've just seen a team suffocate the All Blacks, literally days ago, and yet some people are still convinced they are unbeatable.

I don't think the All Blacks are unbeatable. They have, however, won 45 consecutive Test matches at home and, prior to Ireland's shock win, were on a world record 18 match winning streak.

The ABs are a formidable side and are red red hot favourites to whitewash the Lions with something to spare. Those who watched Ireland beat them in Chicago should know that the ABs at home, at full strength, will be an entirely different prospect.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Fri 18 Nov - 2:43

I should also add that it will be extremely interesting to see how Ireland go against the ABs at the weekend. ABs XV is much stronger than the one faced in Chicago, but conversely Ireland will have home advantage.

I think ABs will win by 20 points.

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Post by cascough on Fri 18 Nov - 3:22

EST wrote:
cascough wrote:We've just seen a team suffocate the All Blacks, literally days ago, and yet some people are still convinced they are unbeatable.

They obviously are not unbeatable.  But in sporting terms, they are about as dominant as it is possible to be, they have only lost 7 times this decade.

Ireland played unbelievably well, and fully deserved their win, but how you infer from one performance that the Lions will dominate them?  I literally can't remember any occasion where you could say NZ have been dominated.  There are of course numerous other reasons why you would think NZ will be stronger than in Chicago:

1. Playing at home against a team that only comes around once every 12 years.
2. Having an established second row pairing.
3. Not at the end of a grueling season.


It's more about what the performances of ENG and IRE over the last 3/4 years has told us about NZ, rather that what they may say about the capabilities of ENG or IRE. If you suffocate them and aim to shut them down physically, they are vulnerable. I believe that Gatland will play a power based game rather than try and match them and which is more, with the marvelous array of forward talent at his disposal I think he will have the tools to execute it.

NZ have a phenomenal record, of course they do. But how many teams have gone out with what some might construe a "negative" gameplan. I say negative because it's all about shutting NZ down and in turn profiting off that rather than trying to impose your own gameplan on NZ. I don't believe enough teams have gone out there with this mindset. I think too often teams go out there with the intention of playing their own way.

I liken it to football and Barcelona. Too many teams were too proud to resort to sticking 10 men behind the ball and tried to play their own way or even match Barcelona. The results have been a period of dominance for Barcelona and its at the stage now where too often teams are beaten before a ball is kicked. Yet throughout this period, Celtic have consistently been a banana skin and had far greater success against them than better teams. The reason, IMO is that Celtic are not too proud to say, forget about us trying to play football, we are going to put men behind the ball and stop you playing. Thats all we care about. And it's worked for them.

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Post by cascough on Tue 22 Nov - 4:37

Loved watching Read get smashed at the weekend. I'm telling you, it's coming.

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Post by RDW on Tue 22 Nov - 4:43

Headscratch

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Post by cascough on Tue 22 Nov - 4:53

No, he really did, with a lions pack, it's looking great.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Wed 23 Nov - 1:08

cascough wrote:No, he really did, with a lions pack, it's looking great.

Pretty confident that it was the ABs doing most of the smashing at the weekend. They won the game with something to spare, unless you're one of these fans that takes comfort in having more of the ball, despite doing an awful lot less with it.

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Post by sensisball on Wed 23 Nov - 1:32

What is clear is that the first choice second row paring for the AB's get through an enormous amount of defensive work, as well as joining the line effectively in attack. At every ruck one of them is tackling/ slowing down or turning over ball and it makes a massive contribution to their defence. If one or both of them are injured then the Lions might have a sniff at dominance up front.

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